Guggenheim Collection Exhibition to Open Sequentially Starting April 14

Guggenheim Collection Exhibition to Open Sequentially Starting April 14


Artists’ Notions of Space from Early 20th Century to Present Explored through Large-Scale Installations, Paintings, Sculptures, Photographs, Videos, and Site-Specific Works

Exhibition: The Shapes of Space
Dates: April 14–September 5, 2007 (opening sequentially in four parts)
Press Preview: Friday, July 20, 2007, 9 am–11 am

(NEW YORK, NY–March 26, 2007) Opening in stages throughout the spring and summer—and timed to coincide with the ongoing restoration of the Guggenheim Museum’s iconic Frank Lloyd Wright building—The Shapes of Space explores various ways in which artists from the early modern period through the present have conceived of and represented space. One of the most basic elements in art, space is also one of the most resistant to definition. Almost all artworks take up, contain, describe, or create space—but as an abstract concept informed by larger systems of comprehending the world around us, whether mathematical, physical, metaphysical, spiritual, and political, our understanding of space has taken innumerable forms throughout history and according to cultural context.

The exhibition has been organized by a team of Guggenheim curators including Ted Mann, Assistant Curator for Collections, Nat Trotman, Assistant Curator, and Kevin Lotery, Curatorial Assistant; with Nancy Spector, Curator of Contemporary Art and Director of Curatorial Affairs.

Drawn from the Guggenheim’s extensive permanent collection, The Shapes of Space explores the elastic notion of space in an unorthodox and nonchronological manner. Rather than seek a continuous art historical narrative, the exhibition combines works from different time periods, from the early 20th century through the present, and positions itself as an open-ended inquiry. Several thematic clusters, however, emerge to structure the show, revolving around the delineation and perception of space, the activation of social space, the built or architectural space and its sociopolitical implications, psychologically charged spaces, invented or imagined spaces, and the idea of spiritual or infinite space.

Several large-scale contemporary works recently acquired by the Guggenheim form the spine of the exhibition. Installed on the ground floor of the Guggenheim’s rotunda and visible from the exterior at night will be Alyson Shotz’s The Shape of Space (2004), from which the exhibition derives its name. An investigation into the perception of space, Shotz’s piece is a massive, shimmering wall of over 18,000 ovals of hand-cut plastic, which capture and refract light, magnifying and transforming its surroundings. Pipilotti Rist’s Himalaya’s Sister’s Living Room (2000) simulates a dimly lit, cluttered domestic interior to uncover the thoughts, memories, and anxieties that lie hidden within the space of the household. Rirkrit Tiravanija’s Untitled 2002 (he promised) (2002) and Piotr Uklanski’s Untitled (Dance Floor) (1996) both create zones for social exchange, activating the space between people.

While these large-scale, contemporary works represent the major punctuation points of the exhibition, The Shapes of Space encompasses work in a variety of mediums—from paintings and sculpture to photographs, videos, and smaller site-specific installations—by a diverse group of artists. It includes early modernists such as Alexander Calder, Naum Gabo, Vasily Kandinsky, Fernand Léger, László Moholy-Nagy, and Piet Mondrian, and post-war artists such as Carl Andre, Lee Bontecou, Louise Bourgeois, Larry Bell, Dan Flavin, Lucio Fontana, Alberto Giacometti, Gordon Matta-Clark, Robert Smithson, Lawrence Weiner, and Jackie Winsor. In addition to Rist, Shotz, Tiravanija, and Uklanski, a number of other important contemporary artists are represented, including Tom Friedman, Liam Gillick, Robert Gober, Roni Horn, Aleksandra Mir, Sarah Morris, Paul Pfeiffer, and Hiroshi Sugimoto.

Schedule of Sequential Openings
With the sequential openings of the exhibition over the spring and summer, The Shapes of Space promises to animate and transform the Guggenheim, making visitors aware not only of the ways in which space is manifested within art but also the different ways in which art can engage its surroundings and reorient the viewer’s own position within space. The following schedule highlights works that will be on view and the timing of their installation; because of the museum’s restoration project, all dates are subject to change.

Part I, April 14–September 5
Part I of the exhibition encompasses the rotunda floor, High Gallery, and Rotunda Level 2. Works on view include Larry Bell’s 20" Untitled 1969 (Tom Messer Cube) (1969), László Moholy-Nagy’s Space Modulator (1939–45), Piet Mondrian’s Composition No. 1: Lozenge with Four Lines (1930), Sarah Morris’s Mandalay Bay (Las Vegas) (1999), Alyson Shotz’s The Shape of Space (2004), and Piotr Uklanski’s Untitled (Dance Floor) (1996).

Part II, June 15–September 5
Part II of the exhibition is installed on Rotunda Levels 3 and 4. Works on view include Louise Bourgeois’s Cell V (1991), Naum Gabo’s Column (ca. 1923, reconstruction 1937), Robert Gober’s Untitled (1998–99), and Maria Elena González’s Untitled (2005).

Part III, June 23–September 5
Pipilotti Rist’s Himalaya’s Sister’s Living Room (2000) opens in Annex Level 5 on June 23; Matthew Ritchie’s The Hierarchy Problem (2003) opens on Ramp 6 on June 25 and Rirkrit Tiravanija’s Untitled 2002 (he promised) (2002) opens in Annex Level 7 on June 25.

Part IV, July 20–September 5

Part IV of the exhibition is installed on Rotunda Level 5. Works on view include Alexander Calder’s Mobile (ca. 1943–46), Tom Friedman’s Untitled (2001), Vasily Kandinsky’s Several Circles (January–February 1926), Aleksandra Mir’s First Woman on the Moon (1999–ongoing), and Paul Pfeiffer’s Pier and Ocean (2004).

March 26, 2007

Betsy Ennis / Leily Soleimani
Guggenheim Public Affairs
212 423 3840


Press images

Press Images

Download high resolution, press-approved images.

contact us

Have a media inquiry? Contact us for more information.